What’s the deal?

In all jobs the first hour is free, with no further obligation. I’ll make general comments or suggestions for your document or edit a sample of it. If you’re interested in having more work done, I will then give an obligation-free quote. I hope my comments are helpful regardless of whether you decide to engage me to do more.

Do you edit academic theses?

Yes. My special interest is helping students whose native language is not English.

I can edit to any style guide you use. If it’s an in-house guide, I’ll need to have access to it.

What can you do for my website?

I’m not the overall website designer. My focus is getting the words right. On the web, even more than in other documents, you’re pitching to readers with a very short attention span. Every word needs to pay its way. So it’s all the more important to road-test your content with someone outside your organisation who can take the part of a first-time visitor and point out anything that’s unclear or superfluous.

Do I really need an editor?

It depends on how important your document is. Maybe not, if it’s a routine report going to someone that you trust not to worry about a few grammatical mistakes.

But be careful. It may only take a few small embarrassments on each page—a typo here, a grammatical mistake there, an unclear or wrong-tone sentence—to undercut your carefully crafted image as an expert professional.

How does an editor help?

It’s not that the editor is any cleverer than you. It’s not that the editor knows more about your subject than you.

The main thing is simply that the editor is not you. An editor can see problems that you won’t notice because you’re too familiar with your own work.

At the copy editing and proofreading stage, the editor is trained to notice details that you may miss because you’re distracted by thinking about the subject matter.

What does editing involve?

Editing is usually divided into three stages:

Substantive (structural) editing means looking at the document as a whole to improve its structure and content considering its purpose and intended readership.

Copy editing means checking the document line by line to ensure that spelling, grammar and punctuation are correct, the intended meaning is clear and the style and register (level of formality) are appropriate and consistent.

Proofreading means checking all details—for example, all parts of the document are present; there are no typographical errors; styles and formatting are consistent; pages, notes, references, tables and illustrations are correctly numbered, styled and captioned; the table of contents matches the document.

Naturally substantive editing should come before copy editing, and copy editing should come before proofreading.